Two New York games for the Caps this week. The first was against the Rangers, with the second on the Island.
The first, against the injury-depleted Rangers, was the Caps second-worst game of the season, I think (behind only the 7-0 drubbing from back in December). I saw nothing good in the newly two periods I watched of it. I turned it off after the second time I got up in the second period, and came back to find another goal scored. At 4-0, I was seeing no signs of any reason to hope. They weren't being unlucky (well, maybe a little, but not significantly), they were just getting out-worked, and generally worked over, by the Rangers.
How upset was management? Perreault got sent down, DJ got waived (about time, that), Marco Sturm was picked up off waivers, MarJo started the Islanders game centering OV and Knuble, and the lines were generally shuffled.
Tonight's game against the Islander started out just as bad. Actually, given all the horrendous turnovers in the first period, maybe even worse. But Neuvy had a stellar game, thankfully, and kept them in it. Actually, his game was even better than it appeared, as he can't really be blamed for either goal tonight. One was a very nice screen (on which Alzner made an uncharacteristically terrible play), and the other was just a fluke on a knuckling puck.
But really, the Caps only had, I think, two good shifts in the first period. One was the Caps first shot of the game; a nice one by OV. The other was some beautiful, sustained pressure that ended with seven minutes left in the period. And it only ended because one of the Islanders got hit by a puck, and the play was whistled dead.
The second period started out similarly listless, with a second goal being surrendered about a minute in. And it kept going like that until just after the midpoint of the period, when Laich got a fairly lucky goal off a turnover at mid-ice. Somehow, the Caps seemed to turn it on about then, and play very well for the rest of the game.
In fact, they played well enough to end up winning the game, with Knuble and Semin (playing on the again-reconstituted SOB line) getting the tying and winning goals, respectively. Neuvy kept the Islanders off the sheet for the remainder of the game, backstopping the win.
So it's with mixed feelings, and a bit of tripidation, that I say, "Yay".
Next up will be the Islanders again on Tuesday, this time at home. We will hope that the team that finished tonight's game will show up, not the team that started it.